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BILL POPE

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BILL POPE Obituary
Bill Pope 1922 ~ 2010 Bill Jordan Pope, born September 12, 1922, in Salt Lake City, passed away November 30, 2010 in his home. The oldest of four children, he was raised under the loving tutelage of his parents, Louis Albert and Ruth Jordan from whom he learned the value of hard work, ingenuity, service and charity. As a youth, Bill worked 12-hour days doing chores that included milking cows, tending chickens, moving bricks, and crafting cabinets. Science was always Bill's passion but after some serious explosions in the basement he was banned from experimenting at home. He became a renowned scientist who founded three companies, served a full-time mission for the LDS Church at Temple Square with his beloved wife Margaret, and nurtured an army of lasting friendships. He was known for his kindness. Above all and through all, Bill was devoted to God, his family, and his country as exemplified in his service. As an engineering student at the University of Utah he was expecting a call to active duty in the Army ROTC when he was "smitten" by the beauty and charm of Margaret McConkie. He sold his Harley Davidson motorcycle to buy her an engagement ring and the two were wed in the Salt Lake Temple September 10, 1943. They were married for 67 wondrous years. As an ROTC cadet at the University of Utah, Bill was called into active duty during World War II. Bill served three and one half years as an officer in the Infantry and Engineering Corps in the United States, the Philippine Islands and Japan. He returned to the University of Utah and earned his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering in 1947. He completed his master's degree and doctorate degrees of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington. He was a researcher for Utah Oil Company for seven years before being recruited to join the Chemical Engineering Department at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1958. Bill took a three year sabbatical from BYU to organize a graduate program in chemical engineering at the Abadan Institute of Technology in Abadan, Iran, where he served as a professor and as the acting president. Returning to BYU he was appointed as a full professor and served as chairman of the chemical engineering department. During his tenure at BYU he founded Mega-diamond Corporation with Tracy Hall and Duane Horton in 1966. In 1978 Bill joined his son Louis, who had founded US Synthetic Corporation, a company in ultra-high pressure synthesis, manufacturing synthetic diamond grit and sintered rock drill cutting elements. He served as President and then later as chairman of the board. In the last decade he founded Dimicron, a company which develops and markets diamond technology for prosthetic joints. As a world renowned expert Bill has lectured at international technical conferences throughout the United States, Russia, Mexico, Japan, and Holland. Bill's devotion to his faith produced a lifetime list of leadership callings including: stake mission president, LDS bishop, stake president, and regional representative. At the time of his passing, Bill was a sealer in the Provo Temple. He was also extremely active in civic affairs. Among the many awards he received were the Governor's Silver Medal Award for Science and Technology. Success to Bill was never an end in and of itself; it was the means by which he could help others whether it was helping raise money for his Alma Mater University of Washington, Brigham Young University, and Utah Valley University or setting up scholarships. Bill and Margaret firmly believed that education increases potential for contributing to the happiness and well-being of families and society. One of his daughters observed, "Dad's insatiable curiosity to discover the world we live in and his efforts to learn the principles that govern the universe have continued on through his 88th year. Dad may have passed away but he never retired. He was still going into work and developing patents up until a month before he died." Bill J. Pope is lovingly remembered by his wife Margaret McConkie Pope, his son Louis and wife Chriss, his daughter Leslie and husband Alan Layton, his daughter Kathryn and husband David Paxman, and his daughter Patrice and husband Wayne Tew. His 27 grandchildren and 68 great-grandchildren recall how "Grandpa always had some little gadget in his pocket to educate and entertain us."His brothers Lynn and Keith Pope preceded him in death, but he is survived by his sister Mary Pope Ryan and her husband Ralph. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, December 4, 2010 at the Hobble Creek Stake Center, 450 Hobble Creek Canyon Road, Springville, Utah. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Friday, December 3, 2010 in the evening from 6-8, and at the Springville Stake Center Saturday morning from 9:30-10:45 prior to services. Interment, Salt Lake City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family through www.bergmortuary.com

Published in Deseret News on Dec. 2, 2010
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